Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The best weekend ever (part 2)

As I said in the prior post touching on this subject, this past weekend was probably one of the best weekends I've had in a very, very long time. Just about everything that could go right did, and there were hardly any blemishes on three straight days. All in all, it was the best weekend ever.

This is part 2 of an Annales trilogy. Part 1 is available here. Stay tuned for part 3.

RISE 'N SHINE

Because Katharyn and I wanted to get our engagement pictures taken in Rogersville while we were there for Heritage Days, we had to wake up early. And because even I get hungry by mid-day if I don't eat breakfast (even though I am not a big fan of breakfast in general), we decided that we would break our fast at the traditional (and annual) Masonic Lodge Pancake Breakfast.

I was very excited about the opportunity to visit my home Lodge (I am a Master Mason, raised there at Overton Lodge in May of 2005) and to show Katharyn around. To make it to the breakfast, which ended at 10 a.m., and to have time to attend Heritage Days while still having an opportunity to take our engagement pictures, we woke up around 7:00 a.m., and we made it to downtown by 8:30.

When we got to the Masonic Lodge, however, it was dark and the doors were locked. It seems that the annual pancake breafast had turned into a barbeque the night before. Frustrated, but determined, we headed back to the car and decided to go to Hardee's for breakfast. We enjoyed their usual breakfast fair, and we also got share our breakfast with a whole clan (four women, three kids, and one man) of Holiness folks in their denim, ankle-skirts and waist-length hair (the women, not the man).

SAY CHEESE

After breakfast, my dad met us at Hardee's, and we drove to Ebbing and Flowing Spring United Methodist Church, one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in our area, to take our engagement pictures.

We posed and smiled and posed some more, all the while freezing our butts off (the Lord saw fit to grant us nippy, fall weather in celebration of Heritage Days, for which we were grateful at all times except during the picture-taking). It was worth it, though, because we ended up getting some great pictures.

DOWNTOWN, DOWN-HOME

After we finished taking our pictures, it was finally time to go back to downtown, where Heritage Days was in full swing.

The streets were lined with tents full of crafts from all around the country (seriously: I met one crafter from upstate New York, another from Texas, and another from Wyoming) and full of folks in town for the festivities.

The sky was sapphire blue, the air had just a hint of a nip, and the sun shone lightly through the trees of the Town Square. All in all, it truly was an idyllic moment, and it made me remember why I like to refer to Rogersville as the promised land.

As we were waiting on mom and dad to meet us on the Town Square (they had driven separately from Katharyn and I), we saw several folks that we hadn't seen in a long time. First was Adam Susong, his wife Kayce, and their son, Parker. Adam was my best friend in high school, and it was great to see him and his family.

HISTORY ALIVE

After we met back up with my parents, and took a few pictures, it was time to enjoy the festivities at large. One of the first things we did was go see the Heritage Demonstrators.

Part of the point of Heritage Days is to celebrate the history of our very old, and very unique little town. A part of Rogersville's history is the way of life that its citizens led for hundreds of years that has all but disappeared since the early 1960s. The mountain way of life, with its rural and agricultural basis, is highlighted by folks who dress in period attire and demonstrate just how things were done by the ancestors of today's Rogersvillians.

One of my favorite demonstrators is always the applebutter makers. These folks, from Mary's Chapel United Methodist Church in Bean Station (a tiny crossroads town about 15 minutes from Rogersville), bring their kettle, some wood, and plenty of apples to make apple butter right on the Town Square. In addition to their living history lesson, they also sell the apple butter for folks just like me.

Because it's one of my favorie booths, I got the applebutter churner to let Katharyn have a go at churning so that we could appreciate what my ancestors had to go through and so that I could get a cute picture of Kat. As you can see from the picture, I think I can safely say, "mission accomplished."

SHOPPING!

Since Kat cooperated so fully on the applebutter picture, I had no recourse but to go with her as she went into full shopping mode on the Heritage Days craft booths. In order to maximize our effectiveness, we devised a plan whereby we would begin at the corner of South Hasson & West Main and head east on the south side of Main Street, looking at the booths as we went.

And boy, did we. There were booths with candles, jewelry, decorations, food, furniture, knives, toys, paintings, drawings, and a million other things that I probably can't even remember. As we strolled down the street, we continued to see people that we knew, and it was exciting to visit with folks that I hadn't seen in a while.

We didn't make it out of Heritage Days without spending some money. Overall, of course, I think we did pretty well. I made it out with two hand-sewn dish towels that can hang on a stove handle without falling (they have a button device) that I purchased as a gift for mom; I also bought two pencil drawings of downtown Rogersville buildings from an artist that has been coming to Heritage Days at least since the early 1990s.

Kat bought a couple of items that I can't mention on my blog because certain people might read it and then would know what they're getting for Christmas (not to mention Kat would kill me).

A (BLACK AND) GOLDEN AFTERNOON

While Kat and I were browsing (and while we were somewhere past the intersection of East Main & South Church), I started getting text messages from Scott Williams about the score of the Vanderbilt-Georgia football game. I knew that the Commodores were playing that afternoon, but the importance of Heritage Days to me, Kat, my family, and the community meant that I was out and about instead of inside watching the game.

Scott said that Vanderbilt had just recovered a fumble, and that we were beating Georgia 14-13 in Athens. I was excited, but I will admit didn't think much of the message. After all, I had (only last week) witnessed our Commodores' keen propensity to go up and then fall down when I went to Oxford, Mississippi with Scott.

It turns out that might have been the wrong decision to stay outside and keep shopping (not really, but I mean, what a game to be shopping and browsing crafts through). It was when Kat and I reached the corner of East Main & Brownlow (and notice how long it took to get from Church Street to Brownlow Street), that Scott sent a message that I'll never forget.

It said: "Vandy wins!!! 24-22"

Kat and I proceeded to go ecstatic. I began running around in circles, fumbling with my phone trying to call people. I called Scott, I called Mark Halling, I text-messaged Tyler Fiveash, I got calls from Megan Price and Clark Dumas, and I generally went bananas.

Only the Lord, and possibly Katharyn, will ever know how hard it was for me not to go rushing indoors and proceed to try to assimilate as much information as possible about the victory. Because ladies and gentlemen, that game and its outcome was a Big Deal.

You see, the Commodores (until this past weekend) had never -- that's right, never -- beaten a Top 25 opponent on their (the opponent's) home field. We came close when we beat Auburn in our first bowl appearance at a neutral field back in 1956.

But this was a first. Not to mention that Georgia was ranked sixteenth in the country, it was Homecoming, and it was in Athens. This game, combined with our wins at Arkansas and at Tennessee (not to mention our four-game winning streak last year), is something of a statement.

We have now beaten good, old-fashioned SEC teams on their own turf in 3 out of the last 10 football games that we have played. Our combined record in the past two seasons is 8-10 (5-6 last year and 3-4 this year). If you can't tell, that's (dangerously) close to .500. That's (dangerously) close to consistent, SEC-caliber play (and success). Folks, we ain't just whistlin' Dixie. Vanderbilt is a program on the rise, and it's all thanks to Bobby Johnson.

Did somebody say "bowl game?"

HANGING OUT

For the rest of the afternoon, I floated through Heritage Days with my head in the sky and my heart with the 'Dores in Athens. I saw people, I talked to them, and I even enjoyed Heritage Days, but it was all over but the ecstasy.

That afternoon, Kat and I headed over to Megan Price's house to join her and my friend (and Megan's fiancee) Michael Anderson to hang out and catch up. We had a great time.

After we left Megan's house, we returned home to have dinner with my parents. After an awesome dinner, it was time for the four of us to join my dog, Titan, outside around a fire-pit to roast marshmallows and talk late into the night.

A perfect end, to a perfect day in the Promised Land.

FEELING: Happy, still
LISTENING TO: Dixie, after looking it up on Wikipedia to link it to this blog entry

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